I work on the assembly line at a factory that makes household cleaning products. After working here for just a short amount of time, I switched my family to all natural cleaners. I could not believe the chemicals and other toxins that go into many household cleaning products. At work, I wear heavy gloves, glasses, and a mask to keep myself from inhaling dangerous chemicals and getting them on my skin. The guys I work with think I’m crazy, but I tell them that they should be careful, because these ingredients are harmful. Unfortunately many of my coworkers learned this the hard way. It was a Thursday, and I woke up with a horrible cold. My kids had had it the previous week, and I was worried I was going to get it also, well I did. I was upset about missing a day of work, because I needed the money, but my wife insisted that I stay home. Around 11am I had gotten a call from work- a pipe had burst at my assembly line. The guys I worked with had all been victims of the hot chemicals that burst out of the pipe. Exposure to shards of metal and toxic substances had meant that many of them were now in the ER getting treatments which ranged from stitches, to treating chemical burns. The next day, I visited many of my co-workers and they all agreed I had it right, although rubber gloves and a face mask wouldn’t have protected me from harm in this situation.
My whole team was given paid leave for several weeks while the factory worked on repairing the pipes. From what I heard, they had to hire an industrial construction company to come in, asses the damage, look at what types of materials we were using, and replace the pipes. After the first two weeks of waiting, we got a call that it would be another two weeks. It turns out that our pipes weren’t the only ones which were old and corroded, but more pipes needed to be replaced throughout the factory. According to a memo that was sent around by our CEO, pipe fabrication has advanced a lot since the pipes in our factory were installed about 50 years ago. Pipes are now designed to be thinner, but more durable, and they have much stricter regulations that they must meet in order to be used in an industrial setting. There was also an explanation of the type of piping that they would be using, including an in depth explanation of the safety regulations in place.
When we got back to work, we had brand new, very sturdy looking pipes. We will have inspectors coming through once every six months to inspect all of the pipes and do any maintenance work to ensure nothing like this happens again. I am very glad that my bosses decided to hire a reputable industrial construction company to come in, clean up the damage, and provide undoing maintenance to ensure that we are all in a safe work environment.